In the September Newsletter we discuss the CRA Fundraising Consultation, provide my article on Canadian Charities and Foreign Activities which appeared in The Philanthropist, review rules for lobbying and political activities by Canadian charities, and provide a link to the CRA Report on Small and Rural Charities in Canada.
This has been a busy summer with the CRA fundraising consultation and my article “Canadian Charities and Foreign Activities” in The Philanthropist. As well, as we now have a federal election I have included a note on charities avoiding partisan political activities and an article on federal lobbyist registration requirements.
Canadian charities are increasingly operating outside of Canada. It is important work but also complicated. This 28 page article I recently wrote for The Philanthropist discusses legal issues for Canadian charities conducting, or are interested in conducting, programs outside of Canada. It deals with the statutory and regulatory framework for Canadian charities operating abroad, describes the permissible structured relationships and agreements, reviews a number of cases dealing with Canadian charities operating abroad, and highlights some of the challenges facing Canadian charities that have foreign activities.
In April 2008, CRA released a short document entitled: “Consultation on proposed policy regarding fundraising by Registered Charities (RC4456-e)”. Subsequently, CRA has provided charities with a more detailed 29 page document entitled: “Background information for proposed policy on fundraising by Registered Charities” which provides greater detail, further definitions of terminology and CRA’s positions on various points. In my article, I will discuss the content of the Fundraising Consultation and Background Document, discuss and analyze the criticisms from others of these documents, and provide my own comments. It is very important that charities fundraise in a legal and ethical manner. In my article I try to highlight the important points and provide some perspective on this issue.
Whether we like it or not we have a Canadian federal election on Tuesday October 14. The Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act and other legislation will have to wait. In this brief note I emphasize the importance of Canadian registered charities avoiding partisan political activities. Canadian charities and their officers and employees have to be very careful with how they deal with the election and how they communicate with their stakeholders and others around topics that could be considered political.
On July 2, 2008, the Lobbying Act came into force and many non-profits and charities are completely unaware of its existence or its effect on their activities. Lobbying is defined broadly under s. 7 of the Lobbying Act and Canadian non-profits and charities that do political advocacy or lobbying with the federal government need to consider whether their activities fall within the requirement to register under the Lobbying Act. This article will assist in understanding whether a charity or non-profit must register under the Lobbying Act.
CRA has just released a very interesting report entitled: “Small and Rural Charities: Making a Difference for Canadians”, on Canadian small charities (with annual revenue of under $100,000) and rural charities by identified by postal codes. Together small and rural charities comprise a majority of Canadian registered charities at 54%. Largely volunteer driven, they have different needs than for example large or urban charities. The report covers an important part of the Canadian charitable sector and makes a number of recommendations to assist small and rural charities.
Every few weeks I hear from another Canadian who is wary of giving money for international
development or humanitarian assistance because they are either not sure which organization will do a good job with their money or they are just confused by the large number of organizations doing international development work. There are so many factors that may go into a decision and the choices are dizzying and for those who don’t have the time or inclination to research or volunteer with an organization then donating to any one of these organizations would be a good choice.
A few years back I wrote a paper on an occasionally used planned giving vehicle called the ‘charitable remainder trust’. The article looks at whether Canada should adopt US style rules for charitable remainder trusts. As some continue to push for changes to bring the US style CRT to Canada I thought I would dust off my old paper on CRTs!! The name of the article was CHARITABLE REMAINDER TRUSTS: Dying for an immediate charitable tax receipt without the “pain” of an immediate, or any, charitable gift.
September and October will be busy. I am travelling to Halifax for a Canadian Crossroads International Board meeting. I will be in Ottawa for a meeting of the CCIC Ethics Review Committee.
Our firm has recently completed non-profit federal and Ontario by-laws for Dye & Durham, a service providers that has been assisting the legal profession since 1874. Very much in line with the concerns raised in the Small and Rural Charities report, Dye & Durham wanted to help non-profits and charities by providing an incorporation package with customized bylaws and at a discounted price. This specially designed Non-profit and Charity Corporate Kit includes a Minute Book with slipcase, federal or Ontario non-profit By-laws, a corporate seal, customized non-profit tabs and a NUANS report for only $100.00. It is a limited time offer (until Dec. 31st) and will help professional advisors incorporate a non-profit and small and rural charities who decide to incorporate on their own.
I hope that you found the above material helpful and please feel free to forward the e-mail newsletter to anyone you think may be interested. They can also sign up for the BLUMBERGS non-profit and charities law newsletter, among other newsletters, at Blumbergs’ Newsletter Page
Mark Blumberg, B.A., LL.B., LL.M., TEP
Blumberg Segal LLP
Barristers & Solicitors
390 Bay Street, Suite 1202
Toronto, Ontario, M5H2Y2
Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?
Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.